When Parisienne actress Audrey Tautou strolls the Canal Saint-Martin dressed in a red 40s-style dress for the film Amélie Poulain, our hearts yearn for a nostalgia most of us are too young to know. It is more than just a feeling. The canal is still a series of locks with bridges that rise or swing, bringing road traffic to a stand still as barges make their way up to the Canal de l’Ourcq or down to the Seine.

Inside the bohemian Comptoir Général bar in Paris on the Canal Saint Martin (left). A street view of a typical white-stone Parisian residential building (right).
Top image: Diana Liu. Above images: Comptoir Général / Diana Liu

Once an industrial hub, the area is now one of the trendiest, most dynamic quartiers in the city, with creative restaurants, fun fashion, and bars bursting with boisterous crowds. A stroll along the canal from Stalingrad to Richard Lenoir metro stations is a promise of picture-perfect Paris, complete with picnickers, swans, pétanque players, and even the occasional accordionist.

Outside iconic Parisian restaurant the Hotel du Nord on the Canal Saint Martin.
Hôtel du Nord – Diana Liu

Loulou Les Âmes Arts sells vintage finds alongside art and artisanat from local artists and crafts people. From funky hats to ancient jam jars, old photos to new illustrations, it is the perfect place to pick up original souvenirs you won’t find anywhere else. And concept store Babel boasts other found treasures, vintage-inspired gifts, and affordable fashions. 

The Hotel du Nord restaurant on the banks of the Canal Saint Martin in Paris (left). Inside the restaurant there are wooden bistro tables and chairs on chequered floors (right).
Hôtel du Nord

Hôtel du Nord is a local icon thanks to the classic French film of the same name. Today, it is a bustling bistro with both a decor and a menu that exude the same vintage-y vibes as the neighborhood. 

Locals love to come and relax by the water on the banks of the Canal Saint Martin in Paris.
Diana Liu

Le Comptoir Général is the coolest club on the block; a coworking space by day with an old-time, other-worldly feel and live music venue by night. Sunday brunches attract a diverse crowd from 3 to 103!

A timber table at the bohemian bar and eatery le Comptoir Général on the banks of the Canal Saint Martin.
Le Comptoir Général

Designers and architects from all of Europe cross the canal to spend hours browsing the shelves at Artazart bookstore. While Chez Prune on the next corner is a very popular café that draws French films stars, authors, and intellectuals who come to soak up some rare sunshine on the big, open terrasse

Artazart, a popular arty bookshop along the Canal Saint Martin in Paris.
Artazart – Diana Liu

A quick detour down the rue de Beaurepaire is rewarded with the eclectic selection of movies at Potemkine, original art at Espace Beaurepaire and an inspirational collection of male-centric fashion at The Next Door concept store.

A galette des rois at Du Pain et des Idées in the Canal Saint Martin area (left). The curated Next Door clothing boutique (right).
Du Pain et des Idées / The Next Door

Café Mellotron is a global radio station and craft coffee shop all rolled into one, with a popular night club that draws internationally acclaimed DJs looking for a little more air time. Around the corner, the street Yvan Toudic is home to the uber-trendy and uniquely Parisian street wear brand Club 75 and the irresistible Du Pain et des Idées bakery.

The window of Club 75 with a neon sign of the name of the store in Paris.
Club 75

The discrete yet outrageous embroidered brooches made by locals Macon & Lesquoy have gained international acclaim and the best selection is just across the street at their flagship shop. Head back up the rue de Marseille for more shop-’til-you-drop fashion boutiques before finding yourself right back in front of Chez Prune. 

The legs of a woman wearing snaskin boots with dried yellow flowers planted inside them, carrying a bag between her knees (left) by Macon & Lesquoy on the Canal Saint Martin in Paris. A selection of jackets and shoes arranged inside the pared-down The Next Door store (right).
Macon & Lesquoy / The Next Door

A bit further down the canal, Make My Lemonade is a creative workshop space that offers sewing and design classes, as well as a nicely curated selection souvenirs and some original fashion design. There is even a café in the back for a quiet break. 

Outside Make My Lemonde clothing store on  the Canal Saint Martin (left). A view of the canal in Paris (right).
Make My Lemonande / Canal Saint-Martin – Diana Liu

As lunch rolls around, head to IMA, a vegetarian café with food so good carnivores won’t miss the meat. 

Big bowls of salads on the counter of IMA, a veggie café in Paris (left) and its exposed-brick interiors lined with crates of fresh produce on wooden shelves (right).

Loulou Les Âmes Arts – 104 Quai de Jemmapes, 75010

Babel – 55 Quai de Valmy, 75010

Hôtel du Nord – 102 Quai de Jemmapes, 75010

Le Comptoir General – 80  Quai de Jemmapes, 75010

Artazart – 83 Quai de Valmy, 75010

Chez Prune – 38 rue Beaurepaire, 75010

Potemkine – 30 rue Beaurepaire, 75010

Espace Beaurepaire – 28 rue Beaurepaire, 75010

The Next Door – 10 rue Beaurepaire, 75010

Café Mellotron – 6 rue Beaurepaire, 75010

Club 75 – 32 rue Yves Toudic, 75010

Du Pain et des Idées – 34 rue Yves Toudic, 75010

Macon & Lesquoy – 37 rue Yves Toudic, 75010

Make My Lemonade – 61 Quai de Valmy, 75010

IMA – 39 Quai de Valmy, 75010

Inside iconic French restaurant Hotel du Nord which has wooden bistro tables and chairs and plant life (left) as well as bar stools lined up at the bar on the lower level of the space (right).
Hôtel du Nord

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Written by Sylvia Sabes for HiP Paris. Looking to travel? Check out Haven In for a fabulous vacation rental in Paris, France or Italy. Looking to rent long-term or buy in France or Italy, ask us! We can connect you to our trusted providers for amazing service and rates.


Sylvia Sabes

Sylvia tells stories through images and words. She has worked as a Creative Director for international ad campaigns like Cartier and LOreal, and as a National Award winning Polaroid photographer. She writes and shoots all things Paris and beyond… She lives in Paris and the French Basque Region.

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